Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Gynecological Oncologist

Monday December 8th and we're off to talk to the oncologist. Fortunately she keeps office hours at the satellite branch of MCV only a few miles from home and I was able to have the CT scan she ordered there as well on Friday Dec 5th, so we should have all the info we need to figure out how to fix me. She's perky, well-informed and talkative, traits the surgeons had mentioned and some of the reasons I chose her when offered a choice of doctors. Scott and I had already discussed as much as we could and decided that the most aggressive approach would be our choice. My first priority was actually getting the rest of the tumor out since the idea of the necrotic flesh sitting around inside my gut creeps my out badly.

The news was worse than anticipated (once again) as she tells me the cancer type I have is further categorized and I have the High-Grade type, a very aggressive cancer that is bloodbourne and has already spread into my lungs. She says the smoking played no part in this, so at least I don't have to feel guilty about that at this very moment, but that we have to nip the "too numerous to count" spots in my lungs in the bud before we can go back in for surgery and risk infection. She talks about hormone therapy, surgery (already mentioned) and chemotherapy options, and we decide that a two-pronged approach is the way to go, both hormone therapy (started that day) and chemotherapy (started Dec 11th). We also want to move fast, since every minute its going around in my bloodstream (which is just icky on many levels). After well over an hour I meet her nurse practitioner and get another string of appointments made, all while scared out of my mind. Less than a week ago I was just going to have some staples removed, and it's almost overwhelming me. I smile, but I'm screaming inside. Scott is stoic and supportive, and I worry about him holding too much in.

In regard to a second opinion, I feel that the team we have is good, large enough for varied approaches and we needed to take quick action, but of course I want to send out the records for at least a review by another facility and group of doctors. We just felt it was important to stem the lung thing at the first opportunity. My diagnosis is officially "cautiously optimistic" which means, to me, that I am not going anywhere. I'm not in denial, I just have too much to do to sit around thinking about dying and being all "woe is me". Basically my cancer and its sub-groups are so rare that they really don't have a roadmap for it so we are hitting it with everything since as Dr. B (oncologist) says I'm young, healthy, have a good heart and low blood pressure, so we'll be as aggressive as we can.


  1. GoHeatherGoHeatherGoHeather!!! Not having you around is NOT EVEN AN OPTION so I'm on board with you and your aggressive approach! As always, let me know how I can help support you and Scott...

  2. Hi Heather,

    I just found out today from your mom and wanted you to know I'm sending you all kinds of healing, positive thoughts and wishes and prayers.

    Love and Blessings,
    Kathy Crabbe (Mark's wife)